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What is Multi-Threading in Sales and Why Does it Matter?

3 min
A sales rep meets a team of potential B2B buyers.

In B2B sales, multi-threading is the art of identifying, engaging, and influencing multiple stakeholders within a prospective account. 

By multi-threading a deal, sales reps can sell with empathy and address the needs of multiple individuals on the buying committee. Broader influence leads to:

  • Bigger deals: Win over champions from different areas of the business to unlock more budget
  • Faster sales cycles: Get sign-off quicker by bringing all decision makers into the buying journey
  • Greater deal security: Build relationships across the buying team to avoid stumbling blocks if prospects leave or priorities change

Let’s take a closer look at why multi-threading has become a must for B2B sales teams, as well as how new technology makes the task simpler.

Why Multi-Threading Matters: B2B Buying Groups

B2B sales people have long known buyers work in teams. Unfortunately, most Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) were built to recognize individuals, not buying groups.  

But nearly all B2B purchases are influenced by multiple individuals acting as a buying team:

  • Buying teams have an average of nine individuals
  • Small deals involve an average of seven buying team members; medium deals include about 10 members; and larger deals 19 members, according to Clari
  • When businesses are keeping a watchful eye on spending, they increase the number of decision makers in a deal

In the video above, Kerry Cunningham invites you to play a game to determine which accounts qualify as hot leads. Kerry joined 6sense as Head of Thought Leadership and Research after years as a Forrester and SiriusDecisions consultant. The video illustrates a near-universal truth: A single lead, even when extremely engaged, is less likely to become a customer than a group of people from the same account.

Winning over multiple prospects by multi-threading throughout a deal cycle is vital for sales success.

Multi-Threaded Sales Reduces Deal Risk

Failure to engage the wider buying committee leaves your deals open to risk. 

Reliance on One Champion

If your deal is single-threaded, with one salesperson and one stakeholder, it’s at the mercy of numerous outside influences. Your deal can grind to a halt if your champion is away, busy, or there’s a breakdown in communication. 

Layers of Stakeholder Approval

You may win over your champion quickly, but there are usually multiple levels of approval (particularly in larger deals). If you aren’t engaging multiple members of the buying team from the outset, your deal can drag on, or fail altogether.

Employee Turnover (External & Internal)

It wouldn’t be unusual for your champion to leave the business. More than 80% of sellers say deals have stalled or been lost in the past 12 months due to a key stakeholder leaving. Turnover on your team can be a deal-killer, too, if the prospect’s sole point-of-contact disappears. Involving more stakeholders on your side guards against employee turnover.

Creating multiple footholds within an account hedges against the messy nature of B2B deals. The more buying team members that are aware of your solution’s value, the more likely it is you can get over hiccups during a deal. 

Uncover the Buying Committee to Multi-Thread Effectively

With success relying on engaging multiple buyers, organizations that can detect buying groups and orchestrate engagement have a significant competitive advantage.

Effective multi-threading relies on understanding: 

  • Who is in the buying team
  • What are they interested in
  • Who is and isn’t engaged 
  • Gaps in the buying committee where additional contacts should be acquired

Previously, this information hasn’t been readily available to sales teams. It takes hours of research and buttering up internal champions who are willing to share information to get a glimpse into the wider buying team and their motivations.

But AI-driven sales intelligence tools have changed this by giving sales folks a quick and easy route to uncovering and understanding buying committees.

6sense Sales Intelligence dashboard for multi-threading.
6sense’s Sales Intelligence dashboard shows which buying personas are engaged within an account, as well as details about engagement.

First, deep account insights help uncover in-market accounts, identify members of the buying team, and provide the option to acquire contact data. 

Once you’ve started your outreach to the buying team, you can then check on your progress at a persona level. Once you know who is engaged and who isn’t, you can plan how to get the attention of the entire buying team.

Want tips on how to craft outstanding sales outreach? Read how sales reps can write effectively.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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